#43 Seahawks Stun #21 Wolfpack, 4-3
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Freshman Zach Hublitz rallied past Ivan Sanchez Gomez in three sets to clinch a 4-3 victory as 43rd-ranked UNCW shocked No. 21 N.C. State in a tight battle of two ranked men's tennis teams Tuesday at the UNCW Tennis Complex.
The match-tested Seahawks snapped NCSU's eight-match winning streak to improve to 7-2 overall this spring and 6-1 at home. The Wolfpack, which has already defeated five nationally-ranked teams, lost for only the second time and stand 12-2.
"I'm extremely proud of our guys and the unbelievable fight and composure they showed today," said Mait DuBois, UNCW's fifth-year coach. "N.C. State is an excellent team and it came down to a few points. Our guys showed a lot of guts and kept hanging around, and we were able to come up big in big situations. We've had a number of top-25 opportunities slip through our fingers over the years, so this means a lot to get that monkey off our back. I know it will give our team a lot of confidence."
With UNCW leading the match, 3-2, Hublitz dropped his first set against Gomez in a tie-breaker, 7-6 (5), before roaring back to take the final two sets, 6-4, 6-0, to clinch the match in only his second collegiate appearance.
The Seahawks won the doubles point in easy fashion, but NCSU's Austin Powell won at No. 5 singles to square the match at 1-all. UNCW junior Chris Cooprider then ripped Dominic Hodgson, 6-3, 6-3, at No. 2 singles to put the Seahawks back in front, 2-1.
After State's Robbie Mudge won at No. 3 singles to even the match once again, junior Kosta Blank of UNCW stormed back to knock off Julian Sullivan, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (5), at No. 4 singles. Blank trailed, 5-2, in the decisive set before forcing the tie-breaker and taking the win to give the Seahawks a 3-2 edge.
That set the stage for Hublitz, a rookie from McLean, Va., who delivered big time with his dramatic win over Gomez.
UNCW captured the early point in convincing fashion by sweeping the first two doubles matches by identical 8-4 scores. The No. 1 tandem of Cooprider and Blank knocked off Sullivan and Sean Weber for their sixth consecutive victory, while the No. 2 team of Sam Williams and Michael Reilly clinched the point by trimming Hodgson and Matt Thomson.
The Seahawks, now 4-2 against nationally-ranked opponents, continue their eight-match homestand Friday with a 1:30 p.m. match against Temple.